General Motors (GM) recently announced a strategic partnership with California-based Controlled Thermal Resources (CRT) to secure “local and low-cost lithium,” for its Ultium battery packs. GM’s Ultium is a modular system wherein cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally, allowing up to 400 miles + range in its vehicles regardless of chassis design.
Record-breaking floods have devastated Western Europe, leaving at least 170 people dead and over 1,300 unaccounted for. This catastrophe will have long-lasting implications on European – and global – politics and policies, including an impact on the forthcoming German general elections in September, and the rollout of the EU radical energy policy package that was unveiled on July 14. This includes commitments to be the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
Just as natural gas has competed with coal as the prime fuel for electricity in the last decades, renewables are putting pressure on the blue, clean-burning source of energy. The competition is fierce and will likely get worse. Yet, it is still too early to discount gas. This was the message at the 36th International Gas Congress in Croatia, where I spoke on Joe Biden’s plan to stop drilling on federal lands.
Soviet dominance left Central Asia’s environment in shambles. From hundreds of nuclear blasts in the testing grounds of Semey (Semipalatinsk) in Kazakhstan to barbaric destruction of water management in the drying-up Aral Sea, these environmental disasters left the land-locked five countries to deal with destroyed human lives, ruined ecosystems, and pollution.
California’s policymakers are lobbying for hydrogen fuel to play a larger role in the state’s economy. A bipartisan group of 20 legislators penned a letter to assembly leaders requesting that $300 million of a $500 million executive order on emission reductions be set aside for hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Such a significant sum shows that California may be getting serious about hydrogen’s applications in the energy transition.
The Canadian effort to sway President Biden to license for the Keystone XL pipeline has failed, leaving TransCanada (TC) Energy to formally scrap the contentious $9 billion project. While doubtless appealing to environmental activists, this is a massive geopolitical blunder by the Biden Administration, putting politics and ideology in front of national interests.
The scramble for the $5 trillion car market is afoot. The leaders in self-driving tech and electric mobility will be the winners. Apple is one of many tech companies planning to revolutionize the staid, 130 year-old industry. This is a sign of how cars will be joining cell phones in morphing into personal computers.
What makes renewable energy so exciting is the immense economic potential of groundbreaking technology advancements.
A recent discovery by engineers of Oxford Brookes University’s School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics could change the design of offshore wind farms forever. The study, led by Professor Iakovos Tzanakis, demonstrates that deep sea and coastal wind turbines could achieve a 15% increase in power output if traditional horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) are replaced by a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) design. While classic HAWT windmills produce energy with a standard three-blade “pinwheel” design, VAWT utilizes a more cylindrical shape with blades rotating around a central shaft.
In this video series, Dr. Ariel Cohen discusses current events happening around the world. The discussion in this video will focus on the cyber attack against the Alpharetta-based Colonial pipeline.
As the renewable energy sector is growing amid dropping prices and policy incentives, energy storage startups are also seeking their share of the market. In the last year, zinc battery maker Eos Energy Storage, Stem and recycler Li-Cycle have all entered the marketplace via SPAC, as have electric vehicle startups Fisker and Nikola. The results have been mixed — Stem stock, for instance, has fallen since peaking in February — but the interest shows the level of growth for the storage sector, said Sam Wilkinson, director of solar and energy storage research for IHS Markit.
With President Joe Biden’s giant $2.25 trillion spending plan potentially making its way through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as early as this month, the United States may be on the verge of a transformational moment in energy policy.
Last Friday, a cyber-attack was conducted against the Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline, which spans 5,500 miles from Houston to the Port of New York and New Jersey and meets 45% of the East Coast’s fuel needs. The ransomware attack is believed to have been perpetrated by criminal hacker syndicate ‘Darkside.’ Even though the breach targeted business rather than operational computer systems, the company has halted all pipeline operations out of an abundance of caution. With this major artery shut down, a shortage of heating oil, jet fuel, gasoline and diesel will soon hit the North East. Gas prices are already trending upward, and that’s with a temporary freeze. If the systems that run the pipeline do become compromised, the pipeline may be shut for weeks or even months.
While the Leaders Summit on Climate last month emphasized the need for worldwide cooperation and accountability in the fight against climate change, recent developments along the U.S.- Canada border demonstrate just how messy joint action can be, even between the best of allies.
Millions of people on the planet are working on alternative energy: engineers, politicians, laborers and analysts. Even more people are the consumers of these emission-free power sources which range from solar to biofuels. In the future, yet more novel types of energy will charge our grids: geothermal, space-based solar, tidal, hydrogen, and more.
On Thursday April 15, President Biden imposed long-awaited sanctions on Russia, blaming the Kremlin for the SolarWinds hack that breached U.S. government agencies and American companies. The sanctions are aimed at Russia's disinformation efforts and the occupation of Crimea, along with its recent military buildup and exercises on the Ukraine border. Ten Russian diplomats were expelled as a result.
The Biden administration recently announced a plan to substantially expand the use of offshore wind power along the East Coast, aiming to tap a huge new source of clean energy that is likely to gain widespread acceptance in the United States.
March 27 saw the culmination of a half-decade of negotiations between Beijing and Tehran, with foreign ministers meeting to sign a twenty-five-year $400 billion strategic and economic partnership. The specifics of the agreement are largely in line with China’s ongoing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), spending billions in infrastructure investment with an eye on long term influence and economic and security hegemony. Major sectors include oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables, nuclear power, and energy infrastructure. The draft agreement also covered the high-tech and military cooperation, as well as port construction to facilitate Iran’s integration in China’s Belt and Road trade routes.
The idea of space-based laser weapons orbiting the earth has been a part of popular culture and real life government projects for decades, from James Bond’s Goldeneye to Ronald Reagan’s ambitious “Star Wars” program. Recently, the Pentagon began developing a framework to promote the innovation of what it calls Direct Energy Weapons (DEW) designed to weaponize laser systems for use against military targets. The U.S. military more than doubled its spending on DEWs between 2017 and 2019, from $535 million to $1.1 billion. Yet, compared with the massive funding for kinetic missile defense and nuclear modernization, these are minuscule budgets.
This past week, Volkswagen Group brand Audi confirmed an end to the development of new combustion engines, as well as an overarching strategy to give the company an edge in the fierce battle for electric vehicle (EV) marketshare. The future for automakers is all about batteries: lowering costs, improving performance, and increasing production capacity.
The global competition for critical minerals is heating up and the US isn’t winning. Among these critical minerals is a subset known as rare earth elements (REEs) which are vital to everything from the energy transition to national defense. On March 4th Tesla announced its partnership with a nickel mine in New Caledonia. The announcement comes amidst emerging rumors that China will impose export limits on rare earths metals. What’s the connection?
On Sunday March 7, Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked an Aramco oil facility in Ras Tanura, a major port on Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf Coast. Brigadier General. Yahya Sarea, a spokesman for the rebel group, said in a televised statement that ballistic missiles and drones hit the oil facility and one of its largest refineries, along with military positions in nearby Dammam. Sarea said the attack was part of the Houthis’ “natural right” as a response to the “aggression and total siege of our dear country” by the Saudis.
The Israeli government is accusing Iran of environmental terrorism over the historic oil disaster unfolding along its Mediterranean coast line. At this point, nearly 100 tons of tar and contaminated material have been scraped off the country’s shores since cleanup efforts began on the 21st of February. In the ensuing investigation the original culprit has since been identified by authorities as a pirate-owned Libyan oil tanker carrying stolen cargo from Iran to Syria.
A massive oil spill off the coast of Israel is being called the worst ecological disasters in the Mediterranean country’s history. The cause and full extent of the damage is still unknown, but Israeli authorities are investigating. Several tankers are under suspicion.
Let’s not mince words – the energy crisis in Texas is an unmitigated disaster on all fronts. Some 4.4 million people have been without power, heat, and running water for days and lack of the state grid’s preparation is to blame. Texas loves to brag about its energy independence and self-reliant electrical grid. But the events of the past week underscore that America’s largest energy producer is not as energy secure as once thought. About 90% of the Lone Star State is powered by a Texas-only power grid, but the current events strongly suggest that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) should join a regional transmission organization to meet energy demands.
When Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais, an aerospace engineer at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), filed a patent for a “Plasma Compression Fusion Device” in 2019, it was either a giant breakthrough – or mad science. According to the patent application, the miniature device could contain and sustain fusion reactions capable of generating power in the gigawatt (1 billion watts) to terawatt (1 trillion watts) range or more. A large coal plant or mid-size nuclear powered reactor by comparison produces energy in the 1–2 gigawatt range. The revolutionary invention by Dr. Pais, if real, would produce near unlimited clean energy from something no larger than a sports utility vehicle.